This interview will be with a person who has supported Dynamics SL for 13 years. She has used Dynamics SL at a large in-ground floor heating firm based here in Minneapolis and uses Dynamics SL for the accounting for this 3.5 million dollar a year Microsoft Dynamics partner. She supports all of the Dynamics SL modules including the ones she does not use. She uses general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, FRx, Project Controller, Project Time and Expense, Project Allocator, Flexible Billings, eBanking, Cash Manager, and Payroll.
She has been an extremely valuable employee due to her deep knowledge of the software product, Dynamics SL, but also because of her ability to do so much in so little time both with our business and with clients requiring support assistance.
Her name is Colleen McCoshen. Colleen has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire) and is a mother of four healthy and active kids. She is a “Hockey Mom” and a solid accountant. She is someone that is comfortable encouraging clients to do more of this support work themselves-if they have the interest. She is also quite comfortable simply fixing the whole problem for those clients that are very busy and prefer not to know all of the nuances of the software.
Colleen, I would like this interview to be mostly about how clients can help themselves support Dynamics SL successfully themselves. We have found often on the sales and marketing side of this business that the clients that are most satisfied with Dynamics SL are the clients that can do a lot of the support work themselves. While we like getting the calls, emails and billable work we want clients to gain from that productive feeling of being able to “do it themselves”.
Jack Boyer: We’ve been doing Dynamics GP year end events for years because Dynamics GP has more steps to follow when you close the books. We were surprised to learn that the sessions you and your team held for us in the past year centered on closing out the year, reduced the number and severity of the support calls so much in January. What do you think happened when we added this event for our Dynamics SL clients?
Colleen McCoshen: The event gave us the opportunity to talk to our users about year-end and gave them an opportunity to ask questions. At the event, we had new users and we had users that have been on Dynamics SL for years. Even though there are no exact steps to follow for year-end close in Dynamics SL, it was a great forum for us to inform them about a few processes they will need to run for year-end. It was a proactive way to help our clients instead of allowing them to run into the problems by themselves.
Jack Boyer: Colleen, as a firm, we support almost 200 active Dynamics SL clients. You have seen the complete gamut of people that call us for just about any small problem to people that will only call after they have tried many things to resolve an issue. What are the basics that clients should try before calling us to help themselves get on the road to self sufficiency more?
1. Reboot your workstation.
2. Isolate if your issue only happens on a certain workstation.
3. Isolate if your issue only happens for a certain user.
4. Isolate if your issue only happens for a certain database.
5. NEVER stop Dynamics SL from running a process-even though there is a “Cancel” button. For example, do not click cancel after payment selection has been started, after a “Keep Checks” process has been started, when posting or closing has been started, etc. This always leaves the database in bad shape where we have to take the knife and fork to the database and finish updating or deleting partially updated records.
Jack Boyer: What about attending the Year End event? We got more clients attending in 2010 than we had in 2009 even though much of the material was the same. We are adding the nice Quick Query tool to help with reconciling and facilitating year end closing. Would you recommend that people attend that event on December 16th at the new (and fancy) Microsoft offices in Edina, MN from 9 until Noon?
Colleen McCoshen: I would recommend that our users attend the event. For our veteran users, it is a quick refresher on things to be mindful of at year-end. For new Dynamics SL users, it is a great training event and well worth the time. It is a time to ask us questions and meet other Dynamics SL users in the area.
Jack Boyer: Almost all of our clients use general ledger, accounts payable and do some type of financial reporting with either FRx or Management Reporter. Which modules do you find the easiest to support and which do you find the most challenging? I would expect clients wanting to do more of their own support work internally to be interested in your answer here.
Colleen McCoshen: The modules I’ve used the most are the core financials and so those are the easiest for me to support. The more challenging modules are the ones that not too many people use such as Service Series and Currency Manager.
Jack Boyer: Is there one question I have not asked that you would want to know the answer to if you were a Dynamics SL client embarking on reducing your support fees on Dynamics SL?
Colleen McCoshen: Knowledge is power so learn what you can from your co-workers and the MBS Customersource site knowledge base and e-Learning courses. I would say being able to write your own reports with tools such as FRx, Management Reporter and Crystal reports is a great way to save on billable work from us. Your IT department must be doing SQL backups to ensure your integrity of your database and so log files don’t fill up. Testing the backups should be on your list too. Always try the routine things in the second question above as you will find that most of the time you can isolate the problem yourself so that even if you have to call us, you save a lot of billable work from us.